Thursday, November 30, 2006
Petrol Prams, the CIA, Chechen Drug Smugglers, Gullian-Bare Syndrome, Oh My: Pravda Writes about the Litvinenko Case
Pravda, long the organ of the Russian authorities, is an instructive collection of rantings and threats that the average Westerner can now benefit from. Within a day we will see the revelation of the official Soviet line on Litvinenko's death which will claim that Litvinenko was poisoned smuggling nuclear materials for Berezovsky enter the mainstream media before being developed in Pravda.
(The domestic jingoistic and extremely convoluted Russian version will claim that Berezovsky was working for the CIA. Those missing out on the far more insane Russian version are also missing out on the story of the Priest who came to consecrate KGB headquarters and bless the KGB agents, who secretly told a KGB associate that he got a sense of evil from Litvinenko)
It's grimly entertaining then to take a peek behind the curtain and see how many ways Moscow was jumping to find excuses, issue threats and produce utterly deranged rambling propaganda. Within a few short pages, Pravda blames the CIA, hospital scans, Chechen authorities, drug smugglers and Landry-Guillian-Barre syndrome. Enjoy.
"The treatment meted out by the western Press over the Litvinenko case is utterly predictable and a shocking and chilling example of how anti-Russian those responsible for perpetuating the Cold War myth remain."
As opposed to Moscow where America is routinely painted as the spawn of the devil. Where Saddam Hussein's regime was praised and America damned. And Putin's regime manufactures spy stories about British agents putting secret transmitters under fake rocks in the park.
"When the West needed Russia in two World Wars, Russia gave up the blood of 32,350,000 of her sons and daughters."
When the West needed Russia? Russia fought on the Eastern front after signing a treaty with Hitler and dividing up chunks of Eastern Europe only to be then double crossed and attacked by Hitler. Russia then needed the West and began lobbying frantically through its Communist front groups for the West to join the war, when just months earlier the international Communist parties were pushing an anti-war platform.
"Russia shed her blood for what? To earn a constant barrage of anti-Russian stories, whipping up sentiment to serve as a ploy to create the “them” to justify the “us”."
Russia shed her blood because Stalin made a deal with Hitler and got caught flatfooted trying to survive an invasion with Russia's best Generals executed and itstroops without supplies. Stalin back then was very much in favor of giving up the blood of Russia's sons and daughters, shedding much of that blood himself.
"The reaction to the health crisis of ex-FSB Colonel Aleksandr Litvinenko is a classic case of anti-Russian hysteria."
Errr Litvinenko is Russian.
"So what happens? The authorities of Russia, the country which willingly mobilised 12 million soldiers for the First World War, suffering 9.15 million casualties (1.7m killed, 4.9m wounded, 2.5 million p.o.w. or missing) and which lost 23,200,000 of its citizens in defeating Hitler, is immediately blamed."
As always Moscow provides the helpful and relevant listing of all the Russian forces engaged in two world wars, as if they sacrificed themselves for London and Paris, rather than being sent unprepared and sometimes unarmed to die at the behest of the Kremlin. Sadly a comprehensive listing of Russian soldiers killed in wounded in the Crimean and Russian-Japanese Wars was omitted due to lack of space. I note that bafflingly the original number of 32,350,000 has unaccountably fallen to 23,200,000. Possibly in between paragraphs the missing 9 million and change were located as starving pensioners trying to live on their minuscule pensions.
"Litvinenko stated that President Putin was responsible for the death of Anna Politkovskaya, when he was in a comfortable pub in London. Like others in the comfortable pub where he made this statement, in Russian, he was thousands of miles from Moscow, thousands of miles from Grozny, Chechnya, in whose local authorities Anna Politkovskaya had become interested, so much so she was trying to expose their illicit activities."
Not so many thousands of miles though that Russian agents couldn't cross it on British Airways. But now watch classic Soviet propaganda at work as Pravda tries to imply, without explicitly saying so, that the local Chechen authorities (who answer to Moscow in any case) were responsible for Politkovskaya's murder because she was onto some criminal activity of theirs.
"Therefore, for those who know what passes through Chechnya, and this is a story hundreds of years old, and a story unknown or ignored by the Western Press, those who get involved in drugs trafficking, arms smuggling, human trafficking and the like get their fingers burnt. Litvinenko was close to Politkovskaya with the important addendum – he knew details about foreign secret service agents."
Now in the next paragraph Pravda has already switched to implying that Politkovskaya and Litvinenko were involved in criminal activity. Then before the paragraph is even done, they throw in foreign secret agents. But are we done yet? Oh no.
"The missing parts of the puzzle not present in the accusations are that Litvinenko has been in the pay of Boris Berezovsky for around a decade...If Berezovsky has his enemies (there have been numerous assassination attempts on him since 1994, years before Putin came to power) then Litvinenko has more."
Helpfully the section in parenthesis informs us that Putin couldn't have been responsible because he wasn't even in power then, glossing over the whole Putin head of the FSB (KGB) bit.
"How sensitive was the material he had access to? How much did he know about British or US spy movements? Who could he incriminate? Why did the US authorities show so much interest in his case?"
Aha! Now it was the CIA that did it, Pravda so 'subtly' implies. Clearly the CIA in league with the Chechen government, drug smugglers and Berezovsky are behind it all. Probably to cover up the 240,000,000 Russians who gave their lives for the West.
"Why did someone push a baby pram full of petrol bombs into his front door in July? Does this sound like an FSB operation? How about a pea-shooter? Why has nobody investigated the possibility of Litvinenko having Landry-Guillian-Barre syndrome, which can be induced by a virus or by genetic causes and which creates the same type of symptoms as thallium poisoning?"
But...but...but what about the space rays and the Martians. Oh never mind. New angle is that apparently the CIA, the Chechen government, drug smugglers, Berezovsky, someone with a pram full of petrol bombs gave Litvinenko Gullian-Barre syndrome.
"Like the rest of his family, he (Litvinenko) is either mad, high on drugs or else a paranoid schizophrenic, in which case he would be better off in healthcare in Moscow than released on the streets of London, a city fraught with random violence."
Oh yes, it would have been absolutely best to forcibly ship Litvinenko back to Moscow where he could be protected from those random radiation poisonings that haunt the streets of London.
Once upon a time this was the classic Soviet line, to accuse their opposition of being mad and then hinting to the authorities that they need to be deported back to Russia or else...who knows what random violence might happen.
Tony Soprano would be proud.
(For bonus points, note the reference to his entire family being paranoid schizophrenics, what are the odds. This is a sideways way of discrediting anyone in the family who speaks out against them, while threatening them that if they do speak out, they may receive the same 'cure' he got. This may seem roundabout to Westerners but it's a conventional threat from the Soviet era.)
"Nobody likes to see Mr. Litvinenko ill. But to blame Vladimir Putin... how about the fairies at the end of the garden, or Saddam Hussein’s WMD?"
Oh yes...no one likes to see Mr. Litvinenko ill (evil chuckle) ship him to Moscow, we make him all better (evil laugh)
This thing is signed as coming from "Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY" but considering the awkward English and weird expressions and classic soviet style innuendo, conspiracy theories, irrelevant references to the Great Patriotic War and threats all wrapped in one vicious paranoid bundle.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
If there was a line guaranteed to get a cry of outrage, a derisive snort or a 15 page dissertation out of a liberal in the 70's to 80's, it was "peaceful uses of nuclear power." As far as liberals were concerned there was no such thing as peaceful uses of nuclear power. The very idea was a contradiction in terms. Nuclear power was Satan's bodily fluids, a horrific material that was the very essence of evil. The only reason why anyone would want it to exist was in order to kill people, pollute the environment and destroy the earth; possibly in that order.
Since then liberals don't appear to have become great fans of nuclear power (though the Europeans whom they constantly assure us we should be more like seem to be) but when it comes to Iran, the cry they echo now is 'peaceful uses of nuclear power.' Iran they assure us is only developing nuclear plants for peaceful uses.
Yes the very same people who are sure that the Patriot Act was a government conspiracy to seize power and end all civil rights, are happy enough to give Ahmadinejad (Adolf Jr) the benefit of the doubt. After all it's not as if he constantly talks about wiping out Israel (by which liberals assure us he only means it will be peacefully wiped out by non-nuclear means) or that Iran is one of the world's leading sponsors of terrorism.
The common thread is that the same people who are certain that everything the government does for national defense is evil, are equally sure that everything countries that are violently opposed to the United States do is good. The double standard is no arbitrary coincidence, it is an integral part of their belief system.
That is how the same people who have 'Cukes not Nukes' bumper stickers can also field 'Hands off Iran' bumper stickers. What they really mean is they vastly would prefer if all we had to defend ourselves with were cukes and Iran had the nukes. But then these are the same people who could chant 'No War for Oil' while arguing that we were better off with Saddam, the man who had unleashed the region's largest war for oil by invading Kuwait and moving in on Saudi Arabia.
Liberals never truly hated nuclear weapons, only what they represented, deterrence for America against the glorious forces of the socialist Soviet motherland, the obstacle in the way of the Red Army sweeping across the rest of Europe and introducing it to the glorious concept of a dictatorship of the proletariat. Ultimately F16's, M1A1's and M16's were as repugnant as the bomb. Just not the Soviet caches of nuclear weapons, tanks and helicopters. Those were of course just fine because they were only needed for the USSR to defend itself against 'us.' Or so the reasoning went.
Liberals have learned to love the Iranian bomb for the same reason they hated the American one. They do not oppose weapons on moral grounds or certainly they wouldn't have spent the last decade championing terrorists whose weapon of choice is a suicide bomber in a cafe. They oppose the use or possession of weapons on political grounds by the United States and any country resisting the progressive opposition of the latest homicidal sociopath who happens to be leading the world's Anti-American camp.
They don't hate the bomb. They hate America and Israel and when the bomb is pointed at them, then liberals finally learn to love the bomb.
Monday, November 27, 2006
In August 1999, the second coup occurred that ended democracy in Russia and removed Yeltsin from power replacing him with the head of the FSB (KGB) Vladimir Putin. Lessons had been learned and unlike the previous coup matters were done quietly and with the appearance of legality. Yeltsin remained in power as a figurehead for several months while Putin was installed as his Prime Minister. Several months later Yeltsin stepped down and Putin replaced him.
What followed was a return to tyranny, unity parties and government parties whose only goals were to uphold Putin's government replaced democratic parties. The political system restored totalitarian control to Moscow and turned governors into nothing more than puppets of the regime. An assault on any independent press began along with the nationalization of gas and oil supplies and an assault on wealthy businessmen who were not supporters of the new regime..
No one had been paying attention and as with the Communist takeover, there would be a high price to pay for that. Yeltsin's attempt to democratize Russia had resulted in widespread corruption, the rise of organized crime and the final disaster that ended any belief he had in being the right man to rule Russia. That was the Kosovo war. When Clinton launched the invasion and NATO bombing of the Serbs, the Russians saw it as we would if Russia had invaded and begun bombing England while we stood by and did nothing. While Americans and Europeans listened to propaganda claiming the Serbs had been committing genocide, Clinton had sealed the doom of Yeltsin's presidency and given the kiss of death to any reapproachment between Russia and the West.
The Kosovo War ended in June 1999. Two months later the coup followed and Yeltsin accepted it willingly. He had lost and the old regime had won. Putin's election returned the old KGB\Military establishment to power with a directive to suppress domestic dissent and the press, restore control over the old territories of the USSR, subvert the West, reestablish Russia's presence in the Middle East. Most of these are on their way to being accomplished.
With a background in international affairs and foreign investment, the Putin regime had leveraged Russia's nationalized oil and gas supplies to pressure and dominate its former Republics and through companies like Rosneft and Lukoil is extending its control into Europe, Israel and America.
The USSR is being recreated, not as a Communist state but as a National Socialist one, devoid of Marxist ideology but emphasizing nationalism, hatred of foreigners, nationalization of companies, territorial conquest and totalitarian rule. Without Communism, its allies on the far left have turned on it.
Where Communist Russia's brutal tyranny and foreign assassinations could expect to receive propaganda cover from Western liberals, National Socialist Russia finds them as the enemy. Russia's old Fellow Travelers in the form of the media, human rights organizations, academics, liberal politicians and think tanks have turned on it attacking Putin's human rights records and lack of democracy. They represent a loose coalition funded by such figures as George Soros and Boris Berezovsky.
Now of course once upon a time the liberal intellectuals people were thrilled to death by Lenin and Stalin's human rights record and happily journeyed to Moscow and back to write books and articles on his benevolent rule and Russia's prosperity, at a time when much of the country was on the brink of starving to death. Those who did this were no obscure figures, but the cultural titans of the period.
H.G. Wells did it with 'The New Russia' George Bernard Shaw visited Russia and lavishly praised Stalin proclaiming that reports of a famine were slander. Pulitzer prize winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty did little more than funnel back Soviet propaganda and openly engaged in back and forth diplomacy promoting the Soviet agenda with the FDR administration. At a time when millions were starving to death, Duranty lived in luxury with a full house staff while penning stories claiming the famine was a lie and shortages were the fault of "lazy peasants."
It is therefore important to remember that the people opposing Putin have no more interest in human rights than he does. They do not oppose Putin because he is a murderer and turning Russia into a totalitarian state. They oppose him because he is turning into a right wing totalitarian state and because Russian troops are obstructing Muslim terrorists. Real human rights activists are rarely heard from any more in Russia. The people repeatedly cited as human rights activists are leftists funded by EU money. They are not defenders of human or civil rights, but promoters of a left wing agenda.
The recent assassinations of Anna Politkovskaya and Alexander Litvinenko which gained so many headlines did so because they targeted members of that coalition who were outspoken in attacking Putin by defending the current cause celebre of liberals, Islamic terrorists, in this case Chechens. Neither of them are worth shedding any tears over. While the media ignored far more important murders, including that of the editor of the Russian Forbes magazine, they have been elevated to virtual sainthood. Their halos are in place because they were prominent figures in the leftist front that was working to defend the Chechen butchers of Beslan. All things considered, the end that found them was too kind for them. The children who were raped and murdered in Beslan by their Chechen allies suffered far more than them.
Much as in Germany in the 30's when Fascists battled Communists, Russia is seeing a purge of the left by the right. The right represented by the military\KGB dictatorship of Vladimir Putin is a good deal more evil and dangerous and if history is any guide will take a heavy toll in human life. It also represents a growing and vital danger to Israel and the West.
The left though is toxic and devoid of any better answers. Much like America and Israel's own left wing groups, it is propped up by funding from men like Soros and Berezovsky and various EU programs. Its true goals are the dismantling of whatever nation they take root in and the promotion of Islamic terrorism.
The media is presenting this as a battle between a brutal dictatorship and courageous human rights activists, the reality is it is a struggle between two evils. Personally I hope the left does manage to make inroads in Russia because a weaker Russia will be much less able to help terrorists and hold Eastern Europe and the world hostage and prove far less capable of luring Jews back to return there. But that is not because I am under any illusion as to what they represent.
Alexander Litvinenko was a top ranking officer of an organization that is one of the worst embodiments of human evil in the 20th century. He didn't switch loyalties out of morals, but because his price was paid. The only difference between him and Putin is that they serve different masters. Sooner or later when Putin's usefulness is complete to the Gang of 8 or 10 or 12 pulling the strings behind the curtain, he may well wind up perishing the same way himself.
Russia never changes. Nor do its masters.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
What baffles most people, Yitzchak's selection of Esav, becomes significantly less so when we look at it in the context of the time and place. Yitzchak was a son of Avraham but lacked his status or strength. The parsha is called Toldos Yitzchak but the only material involving Yitzchak it relates to us up until the blessings are his travails at the hands of the Phlistim. Like Avraham, Yitzchak found himself a wanderer and an alien among peoples who were all too willing to take advantage of him. Indeed both Avraham and Yitzchak even found themselves having to claim their wives as their sisters for survival's sake.
Next we have a description of his two sons. Esav who is a hunter and Yaakov who is a quiet peaceful man who sits and learns in a tent. In a cruel world, when Yitzchak knew whoever succeeded him would have to build a family and a nation, survive centuries of enslavement in Egypt and then build a kingdom; the choice was obvious. Esav. Esav had the strength that the difficult times ahead would require, Yaakov by contrast is obedient and dutiful, which were virtuous qualities and key to a relationship with G-d but would leave him vulnerable and weak when dealing with men.
Still both Yaakov and Esav represented unhealthy extremes. What Yitzchak wanted was a middle ground, Esav's strength and Yaakov's righteousness. The blessings were a test. Sending Esav out to demonstrate the righteousness that had been innate in Avraham's house by showing hospitality to his father while leaving Yaakov no choice but to take desperate measures to gain the blessings. Thus one son or the other would have to demonstrate that he could take on enough of the attributes of the other to be worthy.
When Yitzchak says, "HaKol Kol Yaakov, Ve'HaYadaim Yedei Esav", "The Voice is the Voice of Yaakov but the Hands are the Hands of Esav", he is saying it appreciatively recognizing that Esav has taken on some of the attributes of Yaakov. When it instead proves that Yaakov took on some of the attributes of Esav by tricking him, Yitzchak affirms that he is still blessed. By showing that he could do what has to be done, Yaakov showed his fitness to be the one to build the chosen nation that would come. It is only after this test of the blessings, that the blessings of Avraham are given with the same prerequisite that had been placed before Eliezer, which was that whoever inherits the blessings of Avraham cannot marry a Caananite. This was not an issue up till now because the blessings of Avraham had not yet been given to either son.
An obvious question that comes to most people's minds is why all this is required. After all it is G-d who decided that Yitzchak was chosen and Yishmael was not, not Avraham. Similarly it should have been G-d who made that distinction between Yaakov and Esav. And indeed it was. The prophecy at the beginning of Parshat Toldos had Hashem informing Rivka of the nature of her sons and the eventual outcome. Yet throughout the actual events, Hashem seemed to be hidden and allowing events to play out as they did.
Why? God's will and promise may prophesize that a man will receive something but not properly prepare him to receive it. Despite the prophecies of the Exodus and the Kingdom of Israel, the people all too often did not manage to live up to the prophecies themselves. It requires a physical and spiritual journey for a man to be ready to live up to what is given to him. Such a journey was required of Yaakov. Had he simply received the blessings and remained in his parent's home, had he been the first born all along, he would not have been prepared to deal with the hardships and suffering that he and his sons and his people would have to endure. Instead he had to struggle and learn to compete in an unfair world, rather than sit and learn in a tent. He had to make his way with no support beyond G-d and leave a legacy of learning to survive in exile.
When he encountered Lavan, who tricked him into marrying Leah who had been intended for Esav, he was was tricked into accepting Esav's intended wife as he had tricked Esav out of his birthright. Life was not going to be the way he wanted it to be. By marrying Leah, Yaakov was performing a kind of Yibum. In Yibum, where a brother marries a deceased brother's wife in order to perpetuate his brother's name, we believe that the children are in a sense his brother's. By marrying Leah, Esav who was spiritually deceased, became perpetuated as well. And the children of Leah proved to have the righteousness of Yaakov but also the strength of Esav to cope with a hostile world.
When Dina was kidnapped, for the first time the cycle of the Avot is broken and instead of accepting when Sara and Rivka were threatened by claiming them as sisters, Shimon and Levi actually go out and slaughter her kidnappers. Yaakov mourns and castigates them but it is a demonstration of the strength of Esav that is required to deal with a dangerous threatening world. When fused with righteousness, it is that strength that produces the Leviim who assemble at Moshe's side swords drawn and Pinchas who seizes a spear and acts zealously in G-d's name. A peaceful man who sits in tents could not do this. Yitzchak was right in that it takes a middle ground between Esav and Yaakov that was created when Yaakov married Esav's intended bride.
It was the distant descendant of his, King David, who is described as being ruddy like Esav and having a similar personality to Esav, who would build the kingdom of David. Who would fuse Esav's skill at violence with Yaakov's facility with prayer. If as the Gemara says, every answered prayer comes from someone who is descended from Yaakov and every military victory from someone who is descended from Esav, the Jewish people had to have both to survive and did.
This is the wisdom of Yitzchak that most overlook when they regard his choice of Esav as blindness. Yitzchak may have been blind but he saw beyond the merely physical and the nature of his sons as it was now, looking into the future at the demands that time and destiny would place upon them. He knew that righteousness and learning were what mattered but they were not enough to survive in this world and that righteousness without the willingness to use force would be ineffectual, would too easily devolve into pacificism. If Yaakov was reluctant to use force, his sons were not, and it is they who would carry on the blessings of Avraham and his destiny to its fulfillment.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
On this episode of Arabian Idol: Heroic Warriors of Palestine Send 68 Year Old Woman to Die for Them
Previous high points of the Palestinian 'resistance' included sending a mentally retarded 14 year old boy with a remote controlled detonated pack that he didn't know was going to explode, a teenage burn victim sent to blow up the Israeli hospital she was being treated at and now a 68 year old woman sent to blow herself up.
The media is already trumpeting this as proof of the desperate measures the Palestinians have been 'forced to resort to' by the Israeli non-occupation of Gaza. Of course things haven't gotten so desperate that Hamas terrorist leaders or even their own terrorists are actually blowing themselves up. No they're too busy carrying suitcases full of money across the border. Instead they sent their mothers or rather someone's mother to blow herself up.
The media's lead on this is to focus on her as a 'grandmother' with headlines like, "Palestinian Grandmother Blows Herself Up in Attack Against Israeli Troops." Oddly for most news stories, murderers aren't described as fathers or mothers or grandmothers. I have trouble remembering headlines reading, "Brooklyn Father Stabs 3 at Gas Station' or 'Milwaukee Grandfather Under Arrest for Bar Shooting,' but of course the lead story on terrorist murders has to be the humanizing of the murderer. And Hamas is happy enough to give the media what it wants.
Somewhere around a table Hamas leaders go over profiles of who to send next much as Reality TV show producers examine the photos and bios of reality show contestants.
"Hey Hamid, what about a 13 year old next time?"
"No Abdul, Fatah used a 13 year old last month."
"What if ours is a girl?"
"It's been done already, Islamic Jihad used a 14 year old girl last year. Newsweek ran a cover story about it, interviews with her family, the whole works. It's been milked to death already."
"But what if ours is in a wheelchair?"
"Hmmm," Abdul says stroking his chin, "disabled suicide bomber, interesting angle but I still like the grandmother for this one. We've gotta deliver something new and shocking or the public gets bored. No one's seen a 68 year old woman blow herself up yet, that'll get coverage."
"The only question," Hamid says, "is how we'll top this one?"
"Got any 100 year olds?"
Next time on Arabian Idol: more homicide and suicide on the Islamic version of Reality TV. Unlike tame American and European Reality TV which only show you contestants humiliating themselves for money, Arabian TV will show you people actually killing themselves and others. Call it competing in the entertainment marketplace. Call it death.
Monday, November 20, 2006
This is not going to be a conventional endorsement. I'm a New Yorker who's lived in New York when Giuliani was Mayor. I've seen the good and the bad in his administration. There's times I cheered him and times I cursed him and I'm hard pressed to say which I did more often.
Instead of beginning with hosannas of praise for Rudy as is usually done for a candidate, I'm going to begin with his faults. Rudy Giuliani is authoritarian, he's a bully and he's intolerant of dissent and criticism. He makes up his mind on what the right course is and pursues it regardless of opposition. His administration was nowhere near as corrupt as his Democratic predecessors but nor was it free of patronage and kickbacks. Giuliani doesn't listen to people, so much as tell them what to think. He is not a figure of Democratic virtues, instead he's the man you bring in to rescue you when Democracy fails.
That's what Giuliani did when he came to a city that had been troubled for decades and on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. Crime was out of control and entire neighborhoods were impassable dead zones. The conventional wisdom was that crime could not be fought, the city could not be reformed and New York was doomed to be a dark grimy hellhole full of criminals, riots and racial tensions instead of the great metropolis it once was.
Giuliani held office for eight years and like Fiorrela La Guardia before him proved the conventional wisdom wrong. He turned around a city and made it downright unrecognizable. He turned around its economy, its crime rates and its entire outlook. Ed Koch spent a lot of time asking people how he was doing, Guliani just went out there and did it. Driven, seemingly unable to sleep, he appeared at the scene of every crisis. He micromanaged things from the top pursuing a tough course, sometimes right, sometimes wrong, and through sheer determination righted a toppling city.
The same flocks of yuppies who moved uptown into Harlem and downtown below 14th Street and then below Houston Street might sniff disgustedly as Giuliani but voted for him because they knew the reason they could jog in Central Park and hold down jobs in a revived New York economy was because he had made it possible. They hated him but they knew they needed him to make the renewed New York City that was their playground possible.
To understand the difference is to look at New York post 9/11 and New Orleans after Katrina. The difference was not in race or racism, after all a sizable part of New York City is black and hardly well thought of by the Bush Administration. The difference was leadership. New Orleans and Louisiana had the same bankrupt Democratic administrations that did nothing except generate rhetoric and racial preferences, Guliani by contrast was a man who took charge, always on the scene even when 9/11 happened. He never lay down, he never stopped, even when he had cancer.
To the people who mistook paper cowboys like Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush for tough, Rudy actually is tough without needing to strut around in flight jackets or cowboy gear. His toughness doesn't come from costumes or positioning himself as an icon but from a drive to tackle the job and get it done no matter how hard it gets and no matter how much flak he takes; he will never back down.
Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were excellent masters of the tough punchline, the easy cowboy grin and the confident posture, so much so that people mistook them for what they weren't. Reagan and Bush began things without finishing them. While Reagan talked tough on Iran during the election, he was negotiating behind the scenes with the Iranians. Reagan chased the Achille Lauro hijackers only to let the Italians take them at gunpoint. Reagan endorsed Israel's invasion of Lebanon to drive out the PLO only to begin shrieking at Prime Minister Begin over the telephone that Israel was responsible for another Holocaust.
George W. went into Afghanistan and Iraq but his goals quickly changed from hunting terrorists to spending thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild two Muslim states, the majority of whose populations want to kill us. When it comes to Islam, Bush kowtows before CAIR and is passionately invested in a delusional belief in the power of the voting booth to transform Arab dictatorships into friendly Democratic nations, when in actuality the voting booth he has pushed so hard only brings the same Islamic terrorists we are fighting closer to power in country after country from Gaza to Egypt to Lebanon.
It's time to put away the paper cowboys and grow up. When Arafat came to the UN, Giuliani had him thrown out of an official dinner. The world stormed and protested and he stood his ground. He had nothing to gain from it electorally, it only infuriated the liberal Jews of New York who were then busy kissing that greasy murderous thug's ring. He did it because it was the right to do and because he did not tolerate criminals and killers being treated as saints, any more than Koch did when he refused to meet with Nelson Mandella.
After 9/11 Giuliani threw the Saudi Prince's 10 million dollar check back in his face while liberal members of Congress were busy apologizing on our behalf. When a wave of Muslim attacks targeting Jews began in New York, Giuliani gathered the Muslim leaders and sent them a clear message behind the scenes that it would not be tolerated and the attacks stopped.
The difference is leadership. From a conservative standpoint Giuliani has many defects, he's pro-choice and has gay friends. He's authoritarian and no believer in small government. He can't be expected to engage in phony piety but what he does believe will be sincere. Most don't think he can win primaries in Virginia or South Carolina. I believe he can because I believe that people desperately want a leader and unlike a lot of the TV polished politicians, he is the real thing.
He is not a McCain or John Kerry pimping his military career decades back for a shot at the White House. He's not another bland governor looking for a career upswing before public dissatisfaction sets in. He's a civic leader who has shown he can do the impossible and will get the job done. He doesn't just talk tough, he doesn't tell war stories; he tackles the tough jobs no one else will do.
This country doesn't just need another President. It needs a man who will take a stand no matter what and never back down. It needs a man who will do things that will make the pundits and the Washington crowd shriek in horror. It needs a man who will defy conventional wisdom, break through the Gordian Knots of political correctness and fight for America. There is no other politician out there with a real shot at the White House who can do this. There's only one.
How do I know? Because he's done it before and succeeded against all odds. Forget the rhetoric, forget the posturing, forget the ideology and think about New York 20 years ago and New York today and then decide whether you want the man who did that in the White House or yet another politician who will promise you the moon, dress up as a cowboy or a soldier and then sell out everything the moment he gets into office and bend with the polls.
I remember standing in the darkness at a protest rally near Lincoln Center during the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. We had been crowded together with Sudanese refugees towering over us, protesting the collection of murderers, liars and thieves and their official representatives that were being honored tonight. We were there to protest against Arafat. President Clinton was behind Arafat. The Jewish leadership was behind Arafat. The world was behind Arafat. And there while we waited in the darkness looking to where murderers were being feted in the light, Rudy was having Arafat tossed out of the official celebratory dinner.
I'll stop talking now and begin quoting Giuliani himself.
"Before Giuliani ran for mayor, he was a New York lawyer (he was born to Italian immigrant parents who had a bar and grill). One day, he was assigned to investigate the 1985 PLO hijacking of the Italian cruise ship, the Achille Lauro. He remembered how a disabled American man was dragged out of his wheelchair and thrown into the sea. Ever since, Giuliani has had a "special contempt" for Arafat and so, when the UN celebrated its 50th birthday in New York during Giuliani's reign, he refused to invite him to the mayoral party. But Arafat turned up anyway. When Giuliani saw him there, he told his beefiest security guard to throw him out.
"That was profoundly satisfying," Giuliani says, relishing the memory of Arafat trying to argue with the guard before storming out.
"Some of my aides said: 'You can't do it, because it will cause an international incident'. But I believe there is a certain level of civilization that a person has to reach in order to be treated the same way other people are treated. You may have to deal with these people, but you don't have to put them on the same level as decent people."This in the end is the answer. It's remembering what is right and what is wrong. That is what the Bush Administration forgot when it continually praised Islam and put Muslims on a pedestal and imagined that the only problem was the poor darlings didn't have access to voting booths. We may have to deal with Islam and Muslims but we can never afford to forget what they are and what we are. You don't put terrorists on the same level as decent people. You don't give in to them and you don't back down.
At that dinner Arafat tried what had worked for him along and he found a man who had called his bluff, who would not treat murderous thugs like the leaders of actual nations. The terrorists around the world need someone to call their bluff. And he's just the man to do it.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
"British Prime Minister Tony Blair says resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the core of bringing peace to the Middle East...Part of the effort, he said, must be what he called a "whole Middle East" strategy, which focuses on relieving "pressure points" throughout the region. First and foremost, the prime minister said, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
This is an old tune Blair and most of the Arab world has been playing for some time and it goes something like this, 'Israeli concessions to a Palestinian state are the key to stability in the Middle East.'
Pakistan's President Musharaf, who had supported the Taliban up until America threatened to bomb his country to rubble after 9/11 chimed in of course saying, "This knot of terrorism will be untied through first resolving the Palestinian dispute."
Between Blair's 'Pressure Points' and Musharaf's 'Knot of terrorism', it seems like massage metaphors have become popular buzzwords. It figures since the entire plan seems to be that massaging terrorists at Israel's expense will somehow resolve all the problems of the Muslim world.
It's not an old idea, after all the Nazis believed that all the world's problems originated with the Jews. Get rid of the Jews and you get rid of the problems. Now it's get rid of Israel and you get rid of the problems. Problem is it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Sunnis and Shiites aren't killing each other in Iraq because of Israel. Hating Israel is actually the one thing they all agree on. The civil war in Iraq is fueled by religious and tribal vendettas that aren't going to go away just because Israel gives up yet more territory to the Hamas terrorists.
Blair is offering up Israel as a sacrificial lamb to Iran and Syria in exchange for their 'support' in stabilizing Iraq, but Israel or no Israel, that just isn't gonna happen. Iran is not about to stop backing its fellow Shiites and Shiite clerics in Iraq like Muqata Al Sadr won't suddenly give up their plotting and killing, over a new peace conference between Israel and Abbas.
Syria which is demanding the Golan Heights in exchange for cooperation with America is now in the shadow of Iran. Iran is in the shadow of a genocidal madman looking for nuclear weapons and getting closer and closer to being able to kill millions of people. So naturally Blair is certain he'll abandon his fantasies of wiping Israel off the face of the earth and annexing Iraq to Iran... if only Israel withdraws from the West Bank. Madness.
Mark Katz may be a leftist but his article at UPI nicely sums this up. "it is not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that Iraqis are divided over. If anything, support for the Palestinian cause is one of the few issues that the contending Iraqi factions are all agreed upon. As is well known, bitter disputes have emerged in Iraq between Arab Sunnis and Arab Shiites, and between Arab Sunnis and the Kurds. There are also conflicts between rival Arab Shiite groups, between rival Arab Sunni groups, and others still. An Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement, if one could be reached, will not magically resolve all these intra-Iraqi disputes.
Nor will an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement prevent neighboring states from supporting rival groups in an Iraqi civil war. Even if an Israeli-Palestinian settlement could be achieved, Iran would still support the Arab Shiites while most Arab states would support Arab Sunnis. If anything, an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement might free up resources previously provided to the Palestinians for various groups in Iraq.
Closer to Israel, an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not necessarily lead to the end of the Israeli-Syrian one. But even if the Golan Heights issue dividing Israel and Syria could be resolved, Syria's continuing desire to dominate Lebanon will lead to continued tension. Conflict between Hezbollah on the one hand and other Lebanese groups on the other also seems likely to continue whether or not an Israeli-Palestinian peace is achieved.
Similarly, it is doubtful that an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement would curb Iran's desire to continue pursuing its nuclear program which both America and Israel in particular regard as threatening. Indeed, since Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be wiped off the face of the map, he may not recognize an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement as legitimate, but as a sell-out on the part of any Palestinian group agreeing to it."
In other words dragging more land out of Israel and expelling Israeli farmers from it to pass along to its enemies will as usual solve absolutely nothing. The problems of the Muslim and Arab world cannot be laid at Israel's doors, no matter how much the American and European foreign policy establishment tries to do just that.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Officially now a 1000 rockets have fallen on Sderot since 2001 with over 400 wounded. The average explosive payload has climbed from 5 kilograms to 9 kilograms and the radius has increased from 3 kilometers to 10 kilometers. Nervous disorders have become commonplace among children there. Many are unable to sleep at night.
While the media reports every Israeli incursion as a massacre and goes into depth about the sufferings of the poor Palestinian Arabs, the world remains silent at this ongoing bombardment of a civilian town. The media and the world looks everywhere.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has now joined the Arab demands for Israeli concessions as a precondition to any other programs or resolutions in the Middle East. The price for his failure in Iraq is to be placed on Israel's head. The British military which lazed around in Basra letting the militias do what they liked (and then boasted to the press that they know how to deal with colonials so much better than the hamfisted Americans) will atone for it in the usual colonial way of the old European powers.
The usual war in the Mandate days was for the colonial powers to show the Arabs they were on their side by cracking down on the Jews some more. While the French load their guns preparing to shoot at Israeli planes trying to stop the arms smuggling into Lebanon that the UN force had been dispatched to prevent but has not, the British will pound the table demanding more concessions for Israel for the terrorist Hamas state and the terrorist Syrian state, whose dictator Blair had so warmly welcomed even while terrorists murdering American and British soldiers were openly operating from there.
And thus the legacy of 9/11 is buried and the first phase of the War on Terror ends with a resounding defeat and the spectacle of the Allies or the Coalition of the Barely Willing, dragging out some Jews to toss to the Arab mob in the hopes it will stabilize the Middle East.
1000 rockets have fallen on Sderot but someday soon, the press will be photographing another crying Palestinian child, another Palestinian woman posing before the rubble of a home that isn't even hers and the triumph of evil will march on.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Press reports however focused on the implication that by not explicitly mentioning his intent to kill Norton and by agreeing for settle half his home, that the entire matter could finally be settled peacefully. Chisholm however disappointed some when he appeared at a press conference later announcing that his letter did not mean any such thing and that he intends to take half of Norton's home only as a first step to taking all of it and that he has never renounced his desire to kill Norton.
Reporters and various talking heads however continued to insist that this was a major turnaround for Chisholm and that an era of peace would be at hand if only Norton put away his rifle and left the part of his own home Chisholm had stolen and stopped trying to recover his son whom Chisholm had kidnapped, by force.
"Diplomacy is the only solution," Mayor McNichols insisted. "We are disappointed in Norton that just when we've nearly gotten Chisholm to agree not to kill him and to only take half his home, he sabotages the whole thing with a show of force."
For his part Chisholm conducted his press conference by waving a gun at everyone present and declaring that he would execute Norton's son if Norton sets foot in the seized half of the house again. Chisholm also proclaimed that he had been sent by god to kill Norton, that the police couldn't stop him and that he was prepared to die doing it.
Newspapers however played this down in favor of playing up the historic opportunity presented by Chisholm in agreeing to possibly wait a bit and think things over before killing Norton.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
At a meeting with a number of conservative talk show hosts, Bush was quoted as saying that the, "the War on Terror has to be about right versus wrong, “because if it’s about Christianity versus Islam, we’ll lose.”
The easiest way to lose a war of course is to decide beforehand that you can't win. Plenty of wars indeed have been lost precisely that way and the nations in question long forgotten except as someone else's colonies.
Now I'm not saying there should be an official war declared between Christianity and Islam. But the war cannot be declared as one between 'right and wrong' because to most right and wrong are abstract ideas interpreted subjectively. My right is not necessarily your right. It may be your wrong.
Muslims feel that right involves murdering their daughters, bombing skyscrapers and expanding the dominion of Islam. Convincing them that's wrong requires displacing their current moral system with an alternative moral system. Since their moral system is religiously based, you cannot displace their system of belief without displacing their religion. Islam.
A number of approaches to this involves the belief that we should be promoting the reform of Islam and thus create a moderate form of Islam that will give up on all the bloodshed. There's just one problem. Moderate versions of religion without the bloodshed don't tend to win out over immoderate ones that believe in bloodshed in an arena where guns and bombs are permitted weapons of settling religious debate. A moderate version of Islam hasn't even succeeded among European Muslims. It's delusional to imagine it will succeed in the Muslim world.
The illusion that Islam can be housebroken so that Muslims stop blowing up inside the house is just that, an illusion cultivated by the same refusal to confront the problem that motivated Bush' statement. For the moment Europe and America are frantically spreading newspapers everywhere while pretending they're spreading out the newspapers for everyone as if a family trying not to make their incontinent dog feel bad, lay down the papers equally for their spouses and children as if it's a problem for the entire family, rather than for the nasty stray they've insisted on adopting and remaining loyal to, no matter how often it bites their children.
The war isn't between Islam and Christianity. It's a war between Islam and every other system of belief on the planet. The real alliance should be between Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sufis, Buddhists, Atheists and any religion or system of belief willing to stand up to the murderous thugs of Islam. Instead everyone continues to deny the blatantly obvious and no one seeks to cultivate alliances against a common enemy. It's Hitler rampaging through Czechoslovakia all over again while Chamberlain sits in London and Stalin is planning a treaty and America is trying to ignore it all.
Winning a war means first of all knowing who you're fighting. For all our vaunted War on Terror we refuse to recognize that we're fighting Islam. Not a few men who make Islam look bad since that list of men begins with Mohammed right on to Mohammed Atta. Not a perverted version of Islam but Islam proper. The same people who have killed millions from Thailand, to the Philiphines, to Moscow to Tel Aviv to Paris to New York to London to Madrid to East Timor to Somalia to the Sudan. It's all one war against one enemy. We can't win against that enemy when we're not even allowed to speak its name. We can't win against that enemy when we're instead trying half-assed schemes to appeal to its better nature and reform it, before we've even won the war.
There are indeed over a billion Muslims and their numbers are growing but the global population is several times that. But as long as the rest of the world lacks unity in confronting Islam, Muslims can take it over country by country.
The original wave of Islamic conquest spread Islamic populations across much of the globe from Eastern Europe to Asia to Spain. The modern Islamic conquest begins by radicalizing the local Muslim population, using immigration to import large numbers of Muslims and evangelizing new converts from the host population. And then the real terror begins.
Islamic supremacist groups then begin leveraging wedge Islamic populations within a country to carry out a campaign of violence and terrorism, force the country's leadership to compromise and negotiate and then seize power outright. Thailand which has a Muslim ruler who took power by coup has already fallen to those tactics. The Philippines will follow. France has a generation to live. Israel is on the verge of annihilation because for several decades it has failed to resolve once and for all the situation instead fighting long drawn out campaigns that never actually end in victory or defeat.
America's diverse population and large scale immigration from South America provides some immunity that Europe lacks but it's no coincidence that Latinos have been targeted for conversion to Islam and represent the largest numbers of those converting annually in America. In the end we will face the same threat as France and Israel and Thailand are. Survival rests with resistance.
Some have already accepted the prospect of a new Islamic World Order. A new Dark Ages filled with ruthless cruelties, brutality, ignorance and horror. And that loss of hope alone marks a truly terrible victory.
While most people think of Iran as Persian, in fact Iran like most former empires is a cobbled together collection of conquered territories and peoples. The currently disputed city of Tabriz in South Azerbaijan is a case in point.
Iran has sizable Sunni, Bahai and Zoroastrian religious minorities who are perennially oppressed by the ruling Shiite theocracy. (A smaller Jewish minority is all that remains of Iran's once large Jewish population much of which has now escaped that brutal tyranny for Israel and America)
It also has several ethnic minorities including the Azeri, the Kurds, the Mazandarani and Baloch. Of these the Azeri are the largest comprising 25 percent of Iran or 30 million people. While the Persians comprise only a slim majority of the country, Persian linguistic and cultural domination is absolute backed by all the power of the totalitarian force of the Iranian Islamic Republic. As the Iranian government channels the country’s resources to building infrastructure, factories, and development projects in Persian populated cities such as Isfahan, Shirza, Yazd, and Kerman,the non-Persian regions of Kurdistan, Baluchistan, Azerbaijan, and other areas plunge further into poverty and deprivation.
Any sign of Kurdish or Azeri nationalism have been routinely suppressed by a Persian ruling majority which believes in the superiority of the Persian race and any historical or anthropological research that challenges this myth cannot be legally printed. Because Iran does not merely rest on Islamic fundamentalism but is fused with a Persian nationalism fired by the belief in Persian superiority to rule over others.
Not satisfied with exerting domestic censorship, the Iranian government has reacted violently to any usage that violates their sense of racial superiority. When the National Geographic printed an article using the term Arabian Gulf, a protest campaign and google bombings emerged from Iran to emphasize the name Persian Gulf instead.
Now the Mad Mullahs had it brought to their attention that a video on Google Video set in the Azerbaijani city of Tabriz, under Iranian occupation, actually described it as Azerbaijani rather than Iranian. Instantly the Iranian government directed enraged protests at Google demanding that the video description be rewritten even though it was a user's description, and Google bombings are quickly following. The Guardian wrote a piece plainly sympathetic to the Iranian government's position and ignorant of the basic fact that it was a user video on Google Video describing Tabriz as being in South Azerbaijan rather than Google Inc describing it that way.
The Iranian regime believes it has the right to censor all information anywhere and feels that it can intimidate Google into covering up its occupation of South Azerbaijan and to transforming Tabriz, an Azeri city into an Iranian one. Google will likely not comply with demands to remove the video but it will also sit passively by while Iran google bombs search engines so that any references to Tabriz wind up pointing to Iran.
The deeper darker part of all this is that Iran is not satisfied with just its occupation of South Azerbaijan but views the independent country of Azerbaijan as being its property too. Phony calls are being repeated for a 'unification' of Azerbaijan with Iran, much like the 'unification' of Germany and Poland. Not satisfied with oppressing its existing Azeri minority, Iran is driven to eliminate even their independent country and the Guardian is happy to play along.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Referring to Hamas, Rice said, "I am not so sure that it is better to have these groups running the streets, masked, with guns rather than having them have to face voters and having to deliver."
...after all it worked so well in Germany and Russian when groups who had previously run the streets and engaged in terrorism took power.
Israeli tanks backed by helicopter gunships rumbled into sleeping Palestinian towns shattering their peaceful stillness with a relentless rain of fire from above killing 6 Palestinians, among them 5 activists belonging to Hamas and a young boy. UN Secretary General has strongly condemned...
(Reuters) Israelis Assault Palestinian Civilians Killing Several
As part of Israel's drive to seek vengeance for the deaths of its soldiers, Israeli troops mobilized for an all out assault on Palestinian civilian areas. Backed by superior numbers and firepower the troops left several Palestinians dead in their wake. UN Secretary General has strongly condemned...
(UPI) Israel's War Campaign Claims Growing Death Toll
Fueled by gasoline and vengeance, the Israeli Army pushed deeper than ever into Palestinian territories as the body count for its campaign continues to grow. Despite the outcry of human rights activists, the killing continued for another night claiming yet more lives in a conflict that never seems to end...
(BBC) Outcry At Israel's Massacre Grows
Israel's undeclared war being waged against the defenseless Palestinian towns claimed new victims today as Palestinians mourned their fallen comrades. Wails and gunshots rose into the cool clear air as victims were carried off on stretchers, casualties of Israel's continuing incursions into Palestinian areas with the bloodiest night in weeks coming after the traditional Muslim holiday of...
(Pravda) Israel Death Machine Crush Women Children
Reported from Moscow grave news in occupied terrorists. Israeli soldiers brandishing American manufactured weapons broke into homeland of Palestinian people killing many. Instant resolutions called in Duma for condemning Zionist warmongering death machine. Igor Gazubayev of the Great National Russia Party expressing outrage demanding following. "How much longer can too merciful government prevail from squashing the Zionist cockroaches with their own boots." Our President, Vladimir Putin expressed strong condemnation of outrage directed at...
(Al Jazeera) Blood Drenched Zionists Slaughter, Devour Numerous Palestinians
Draped in camouflage uniforms of human skin taken from butchered Palestinian children intended to allow these spawn of Shaitan to walk among their victims, Israeli soldiers murderously stamped on the bodies of dying children while singing their Hatuikvu anthem which celebrates the genocide of the Palestinian people. As they began harvesting the organs of the dying for use in their upcoming holiday of Pozzover, they chanted the murderous hymns of their damned forefathers...
(Note: These headlines are a parody, well some of them anyway but they're not so far from the reality)
Sunday, November 12, 2006
It's been Rumsfeld who led America's War on Terror going into Afghanistan and Iraq and delivering the shockingly quick defeats of the Taliban and Saddam's Republican Guard. Once the youngest Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld was under consideration by Ronald Reagan as his Vice President. Instead Reagan picked George Bush Sr, a CIA hack with all the charm and personality of well... Vladimir Putin.
Bush Sr. only managed to survive a single term in office and dedicated much of it to bailing out his Saudi friends when Saddam came calling. As part of that package though, the George Herbert Walker Bush administration focused on appeasing the Arabs by pressuring Israel and solidified the presence of the most Anti-Israel elements in the Reagan Administration. Despite the showy Clintonesque bombing of Libya under Reagan and a lot of patriotic rhetoric, the Reagan Administration had been all too willing to bend over backwards for the Arabs in order to keep the USSR at bay.
Beginning with backchannel negotiations with the Iranians before Reagan had even been elected, Arms for Hostages, arming the Afghan resistance, protecting the PLO in Beirut; the Reagan Administration for all its rhetoric took a very much realpolitik view of the Middle East. The Bush Sr. Administration kept the realpolitik and bent over backwards for the Arabs but without any real foreign policy agenda or the excuse of Soviet deterrence. It was an Administration that serviced the Arabs because from the President on down it consisted of foreign policy personnel who enjoyed visiting Riyadh and Cairo and having tea with Sultans and Sheikhs. Virtually indistinguishable from their counterparts in the British Foreign Office, they were Colonial Officers without any Colonies (except perhaps growing in their inner ears.)
As the Secretary of State, James Baker the III embodied that attitude. From his endless friendships with Saudi Princes, his "F___ the Jews they don't vote for us anyway", his willingness to cater to an oilman's agenda and blame Israel for everything; he represented that was wrong with conservative foreign policy.
Then came the Clinton Administration which drowsed while our enemies gathered their plans and tried to claim that the real terrorists threat were Republican Talk Show Hosts and the Militia Movement. Then came the Bush Administration and 9/11. The Democratic Party went on sticking to their policy platform that Republicans are the real threat to American except they discarded the 'growing militia threat' in favor of the 'growing government threat.'
Even after 9/11 the Bush Administration proved all too willing to cater to the Saudis and the Arab Sheikhs but they also aimed for strong military reform and put Donald Rumsfeld in charge. Now the prospect of Iraq as a viable nation seems more and more doubtful and James Baker has returned like a malignant ghost to explore an 'exit strategy.' But his ghost has been here for a while.
Halfway through Bush's term, longtime advisers and allies like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove became increasingly distanced and there seemed to be one woman who had Bush's ear above everyone else. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, James Baker's old student filling James Baker's old job. Her deputy Robert Zoellick was one of Baker's most closely trusted aides. Rice built up close ties with trusted Bush adviser Karen Hughes and came to outright dominate Bush's inner circle.
Around the same time the Bush Administration shifted from fighting terror to funding it. There was a renewed bid for Middle East peace. In Iraq instead of killing terrorists we began paying them to stop engaging in terrorism. The Mahdi Army was repeatedly allowed to go untouched. Top Iraqi figures who preached terrorism and violence were left in peace. Afghanistan began going to hell.
Rice did not succeed in her plan to force Rumsfeld out and replace him with Jakes Baker, but she has shifted the decision making from the Pentagon back to the State Department. The more influence she gained, the worse America did and the more the terrorists became encouraged. Under her influence the US began pressuring Israel to arm Fatah terrorists to serve as a police force and now is actually arming them directly. Under her influence we pursue useless UN resolutions over North Korea and Iran, even as they get closer to developing nuclear weapons.
From the Rumsfeld Doctrine a formerly strong President has moved to the Rice Doctrine which is really the Baker Doctrine, and it says, Kowtow to the Arabs, Talk to Everyone, Do Nothing. This is the doctrine that has plummeted Bush's approval ratings, reduced Iraq to chaos and destroyed the Administration's legacy.
If the Republican Party is to have a foreign party legacy it has to choose between James A. Baker III and Donald Rumsfeld, between Condoleeza Rice and John Bolton. History will not long wait for a decision and time is running out.
With Bush's firing of Donald Rumsfeld last week and replacing him with a stooge from his father's administration, Bush has clearly made his choice.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
When the men of Sdom encircle Lot's house demanding his guests, they also use a derivation of yada. They demand that the guests be brought out to the mob, Veneida Otam. Here the word also involves intimacy but their intention is rape. In both usages an intimate knowledge is meant but in the first case it involves love for another that comes through knowing another, in the second it involves an assault for personal satisfaction.
In its first use G-d sees the goodness of Avraham and gives him special privileges and rewards. In the second use the men of Sdom are so threatened by generosity towards strangers, that they threaten cruelty towards them and Lot. This is the gap between those who give and those who take.
This parsha begins with Avraham sitting in great pain after his circumcision, in the presence of G-d when he sees three men whom he suspects of being idol worshippers; he nevertheless runs towards them and welcomes them and invites them in and serves them personally, though he had an entire household he could have delegated the job to. It is only after he has shown them hospitality that the angels inform him and Sarah that they will have a son.
They even inquire about Sarah's location. Why is her location important? If we look back we see that Avraham involves Sarah in the perperation of the food by going to the tent, by emphasizing Sarah's location in the tent, her involvement in Avraham's hospitality, they make the distinction between Yishmael and Yitzchak. Yishmael was also born of Avraham but born of a woman who would push her child away from her as he was on the verge of death. Yitzchak was to be born of Sarah who shared in Avraham's hospitality so that he would come from two parents and be the product of a family which was hospitable, who were givers.
Afterwards when Hashem discusses why he should tell Avraham the fate of Sdom, he emphasizes Avraham's descendants. The nation that will arise from him, who will practice Tzedakah U'Misphat, Righteousness and Justice. Why does righteousness come before justice here? Because without righteousness there is no justice. Law is meaningless without integrity and without charity as well which is the meaning of Tzedakah.
Both Sdom and the Philistines possesed law. Both Sdom and the Philistines followed their laws. Both Sdom and the Philistines are threatened with destruction and Avraham prays for both Sdom and the Philistines. When Avraham prays to Hashem for Sdom, he appeals to G-d saying, Hashofet Kol Haaretz Lo Yaaseh Misphat, 'Can It Be That The Judge of the Whole World Would Not Do Justice.' Once again the word Misphat is used.
Avraham goes through the list of numbers of Tzaddikim needed to save Sdom and none are found. Tzaddik is of course related to Tzeddakah and Sdom was renowed for its cruelty and its refusal of hospitality. At the heart of such cruelty is self-centeredness. Where Avraham was a Tzaddik, who gave to all exerting himself to the utmost, Sdom was the linear opposite. Avraham was a giver, the people of Sdom were takers. Sdom had Mishpat and not Tzedakah and so was destroyed. The angels visit Avraham and partake of his hospitality and in doing so condemn Sdom by its contrast.
When Avimelech, king of the Phlistim, appeals to G-d to save him and his people from anhiliation, he too appeals in a way similar to Avraham in questioning why G-d would destroy a righteous people and appeals, Hagoy Gam Tzaddik Taharog. Will You Also Destroy a Righteous Nation. Avimelech contrasts his people with Sdom, asking whether they will be destroyed like the wicked of Sdom. He argues that he acted within the letter of the law enstabilishing Misphat and yet G-d directs him to ask Avraham to pray for him to prevent his people's destruction. Only when Avimelech gives Avraham gifts does Avraham then pray for him and are they spared.
The Phlistim too like Sdom only had Misphat and allowed abuses to happen within the letter of the law. That is why Avraham states that there was no fear of G-d. They enforced a law but it was devoid of Tzedakah, of righteousness and of charity. It was a purely self-centered law that allowed the king to seize a woman as property if she wasn't another man's property. Like Sdom the idea here was 'what's yours is yours' and 'what's mine is mine.' It took charity, tzedakah, for Avraham's prayers for the Philistines to be succesfull.
The promise of Yitzchak was the promise of future generations which would practice both Tzedakah and Misphat and thus the promise of a better world brought about by following G-d. Lot who was prepeared to take great risks for hospitality nevertheless failed to influence others, even his own son-in-laws and thus like Noach, was saved along with his family but like Noach became drunk and resulted in damage to his lineage. By contrast Avraham and Sarah had built a legacy of influencing others. Lot's hospitality was purely physical. It was a hospitality of Misphat. He followed the law in giving physically to others but he lacked Tzedakah in giving them righteousness.
Misphat without Tzedakah leads to corruption and Lot's descendants, like Sdom and the Phlistim, became corrupted. His descendants in Midaan and Moav would then attempt to corrupt the Jews spirtually becoming sources of corruption. Tzedakah and Misphat and leads to the creation of a better world influenced by G-d. That is the legacy of Avraham who in this Parsha gives endlessly of himself. He loses his wife, he loses one son and then nearly loses another, time and time again he loses his home and the man who humbled kings is forced to wander himself and yet he continues to give everything up for G-d. Thus the parsha ends with the birth of Rivka and from there the continuation of the Jewish future with the birth of a woman whose destiny for Yitzchak would become apparent through her acts of selfless giving.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
"As the wails of outrage and condemnation continue over the supposed Israeli shelling of Beit Hanoun and the deaths of 13 members of the Athamna Palestinian family with the media describing in detail scattered body parts
Though Israel has stated it was a mistake, experts analyzing the situation differ. First of all the Kassams fired by the Palestinians themselves often fall short not reaching their target and falling inside Palestinian areas. Israel fires at terrorists using fragmentation shells. Had this been an Israeli fragmentation shell it would not have penetrated the roof but it would have left fragments everywhere, but a poorly aimed Kassam could well have exploded on the roof of this house, much like a mine.
The shells Israel was firing flew 500 meters from this area, however the pictures more closely match not a shell but the detonation of an explosive material placed in sacks underneath the house. On the photographs we can clearly see that the trash cans and their lids and the walls are not damaged. This is impossible with an attack by a fragmentation shell which pierces everything in the area with fragments. This has all the markings of an explosive material without a shell.
The photo of the hole in the celling is interesting, if the shell is fired from less than 3 kilometers away, the trajectory of the shell ascends rising upward and cannot punch through a concrete roof even if it falls on it. If it were to fall on the roof, it might ricochet and explode on top and cover the area with fragments. But this has not happened. Descriptions of bodies scattered everywhere tell of an explosion without fragmentation.
The Lebanon conflict had already seen explosives planted in houses and then detonated to create a staged atrocity, much as had happened in Qana. It also resembles the Gaza beach blast in which an Israeli shell supposedly wiped out an entire Palestinian family and which resulted in an outcry of Israeli massacre, which was ultimately discredited by an investigation.
In response to similar incidents Israel has often made the mistake of taking responsibility for things it did not do. See the Mohammed Al Dura case and the Qana bombing. This occurs because the slower pace of a military investigation conflicts with the political pressure to resolve an incident quickly, even if it takes the form of admitting guilt."
YNet article raises questions about attacks. Hat tip: Vanfield . Extracts follow.
"According to IDF information, Hamas operatives from the Jabaliya refugee camp were supposed to arrive in Beit Hanoun, set up rocket launchers and fire Qassam rockets towards Ashkelon. It was estimated that the rocket fire would commence during the early morning hours in order to target Israeli children on their way to school.
An IDF order was given to carry our preventative artillery fire while employing every possible safety measure: Only one cannon would fire at a time to minimize error; the fire was directed slowly: 12 shells within 16 minutes. The team monitoring the landing of the shells could halt the fire at any given moment and amend deviations if necessary.
On Wednesday the IDF team fired at two targets from outside Beit Hanoun. Two cannons were used, each aimed at a different target. One cannon fired 12 shells and completed its mission successfully. A second cannon fired 12 shells, killing 18 people and injuring dozens. The Palestinians reported that two shells hit a house. Aerial photography taken following the shelling showed two or three billows of smoke at a radius of 60-70 meters.
The radar that locates the targets transferred data showing that 10 shells from one barrage landed at a distance of 400 meters from the house that was hit. The two remaining shells were not detected by the radar. This is a familiar statistical phenomenon. Nonetheless, it doesn't make sense that only some of the shells fired from the same cannon would go off course to such an extent, even if they didn't show up on the radar. If only two shells landed inside a residential neighborhood, where did the others land?
Such an error with this type of radar is very rare. So perhaps something else occurred? Perhaps a shell hit an arms cache or Qassam rockets that exploded? Something doesn't add up. The performance of the artillery team was investigated, and so was the use of digital target data that came from the battery's control center, but no shortcomings were found. The investigation examined whether the military division transferred the wrong data regarding the location of the target. This is highly doubtful as well."
Meryl Yourish points out that 45 Sri Lankan civilians were killed in an artillery bombing and the media remains silent, there is no outcry and no media coverage of funerals and cries for revenge.
"Sri Lankan forces bombarding rebels with artillery on Wednesday hit a school where scores of civilians had taken refuge from the fighting, killing at least 45 Tamils and wounding 125 others in the country’s east, a senior rebel official said. The government accused the Tamil Tiger rebels of using civilians as human shields, and said its forces were only retaliating against intense rebel shelling."
Don’t hold your breath waiting for Kofi Annan to be “shocked” at the killings. Don’t hold your breath waiting for UN condemnation of the Sri Lankan government. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the EU to call on the Sri Lankan government to “exercise restraint.” Don’t hold your breath waiting for world leaders to condemn this attack.
You have to dig deeply to find the paltry 141 stories on Google News when I wrote this post. There are currently 2,026 articles about the Israeli artillery shell that went astray."